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iPad is the missing link between iPhone and MacBook
WHEN APPLE ANNOUNCES A NEW product, the world stops and listens. Since its 2001 debut of the iPod portable media player, Apple has been producing hit after hit, constantly redefining our ideas of what ?tech? can do.

Long a concept that existed only in sci-fi movies, the iPad, unveiled on Wednesday, is a flat slate of techie goodness that continues the company?s tradition of combining a sleek design aesthetic with hardcore ?under the hood? power. In short, another must-have gadget.

The iPad is a blown-up iPod Touch or iPhone without the calling capabilities (it has Wi-Fi and, if you want to pay extra, 3G). If you?ve ever used one of the latter two devices, you?d know how to work the Pad.

Measuring 9.5 inches high and 7.4 inches wide, this baby?s a paltry 1.5 pounds heavy, and only half an inch thick. There is, of course, no keyboard, because your fingers will be doing all the work here, swiping, pinching, and tapping to launch apps upon apps upon apps. The old reliables are here: an iPod to play your media, a slick Calendar that works exactly like a paper planner, a notepad, Maps, and so on. Toss in the fact that in addition to iPad-exclusive apps, the iPad will support all of the apps you can get on your iPhone or iPod Touch, and there?s plenty of ways for you to use up your 10-hour battery charge (with standby of up to a month).

The game changer for many people will probably be the new iBooks app that will make Kindles and Nooks obsolete. True, the LED display is not as eye-friendly as what those other two devices sport, but the iPad more than makes up for it with full color goodness and no perceptible lag when ?turning pages.? iBooks will also have an iBooks Store where you can download the latest novels at what are sure to be competitive prices.

Pre-launch, many tech analysts feared a $1k price tag, or worse, which is why it?s safe to say that having the low-end model, 16GB flash storage without 3G capabilities, at only $500 is a steal, with the high-end, 64GB model with 3G priced at $830 ($700 without the 3G).

Despite it being a few months away until we can get our hands on one, the iPad is already the object of much coveting, drooling, and wallet-tightening. It is a device with so much potential that it feels almost silly not to bet on its future ubiquity.

Nine years ago, we couldn?t imagine a world where people went everywhere with white headphones in their ears. Now the future is thin and Pad-ded.

The iPad is not a perfect device, despite what the Cult of the Mac would have you believe. While it?s an excellent device for certain tasks, it?s great for watching videos, surfing the web, and its easy-to-use interface is perfect for the tech-phobic, the Pad is a flop in certain aspects. Or rather, Apple has to keep some features back for the inevitable iPad 2.0

#1 No camera

In our camwhore society, it seems almost hard to believe that there are still portable tech devices without built-in cameras or webcams. The iPad is one such device. While facial recognition technology may be a few years off, would it have killed Apple to place an iSight camera for video conferencing?

#2 No multi-tasking

The iPhone/iPod Touch interface is a breeze to use, it doesn?t allow for multi-tasking. Sure you can listen to music while typing out e-mails, but jumping from Safari to Bejeweled 2 to watching a movie means loading and then quitting each app. You?ll have to adjust to having a single-track mind with the iPad.

#3 No Flash

It?s fun to surf the web, as long as you?re not the type to watch Flash videos or visit Flash game sites like New Grounds. You couldn?t do it on the iPhone, and you still can?t do it on the iPad. Sure, you can still use the YouTube app to check out the latest video by Marie Digby or David Choi, but some people might be annoyed at having to see that ?missing plug-in? icon that signals your need for Flash.

#4 Will we get cheap 3G?

Not really a design feature, so much as a country or carrier-specific concern. Purchasing a 3G-enabled iPad in the US gives you the opportunity to surf up to 250 mbs of data on the web for $15, or go unlimited for a month for $30. The clincher is the fact that one can cancel their data connectivity at any time and not get tied-down to year-long plans. It?s still unknown as of now if Globe will offer a similar deal.

#5 A dumb name

What trended highly on Twitter during the product launch? ?iTampon.? Insert your own ?with wings? joke here.